Safety barrel

After a discussion in the staff room i hope people on here can answer a question.

Do people carry a small darren drum ?

What do people put in it? batteries, bivi bags, food, elite first aid kit.

I would appreciate reply's from anyone, diggers, surveyors, club members cave leaders.


cap n chris

Well-known member
In reply to the OP.

Personally? No.

Emergency items are carried within my caving oversuit. Spare light around neck. Spare batteries? - generally not necessary in an age of lithium ion.

There will likely be as many different answers to the various elements of the question as there are cavers. For instance: the amount and type of any additional kit is often dependent upon the trip being undertaken - e.g. deep alpine caving might require full survival back-up kit, spare warm clothes, bivvy, food, fuel, puritabs etc. whereas an hour-long bimble into a novice cave might only require a lucky rabbit's foot, loperamide and a box of matches.


I find taking a darren with you, no matter what the size, will invarable improve any caving trip.  ;)


Active member
Used to carry these all the time on novice/inexperienced trips, not so much on trips with seasoned cavers, expect them to look after themselves!
Although in them days it was the ever faithful ammo can, excellent for the job unless some twonk puts the spare carbide in a damp container :eek:
I remember one of the girl guide novices I had on that trip said "is it always this exciting?", I was still shaking as I had been wearing the thing on a sling over my shoulder when it went off, the chamber was festooned with crepe bandages!!, (can't recall my response!!!).


New member
I occasionally carry a small drum, usually has camera and slave/flash bits in. This of course largely depends on my mood, energy levels, trip involved etc. I'm talking average UK caving not that strange foreign business.

It does sometimes contain spare batteries for the flash so potentially doubles up as spare batteries for lights (assuming lights take AA's). I sometimes throw a chocolate bar in, just in case it's needed. It has been known to carry car keys (not mine, I have them elsewhere). I think it still contains a couple of small cable ties, for which I've not had a use for, yet, but they take up so little space and weight that I figure they do no harm staying put!

Pete K

Well-known member
I tend to carry the same Darren drum that I use with clients when I cave personally. A compact but functional kit that is easily carried under an SRT rope in a tacklebag:
Largest drum that fits in a standard Lyon bag.
8 man group shelter.
2x Pixa2 lamps
8 spare batteries (usually removed for personal trips).
1st aid kit.
Casualty cards.
Sharpie pen and waterproof paper.
Small roll of Gaffa tape.
Packet of jelly babies.
1.5ft x 1.5ft carry mat.
For horizontal group work a 20m 9mm rope, krabs and a couple of bolts.
A small insulated/armoured flask but I tend to try and put that in another bag with SRT ropes or clients' lunch tubs.


An old caving friend who is sadly no longer with us once told me sanitary towel, condom and duck tape is all you need to patch most things up.